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The Acme Novelty Library (The Acme Novelty Library)

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  1,812 ratings  ·  55 reviews
This new edition features the first serial installment of Rusty Brown, Ware's first major lengthy narrative indulgence since his Jimmy Corrigan graphic novel. Full color. (Graphic Novels)
Hardcover, 108 pages
Published September 20th 2005 by Pantheon Books (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,674)
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Nate D
Jan 27, 2011 Nate D rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Today is the FIRST DAY of the REST OF YOUR LIFE
Recommended to Nate D by: I'm not getting BETTER, I'm getting OLDER
Shelves: read-in-2011, comics
Are you:

-A failure?
-Terminally lonely?
-A miserable failure?
-Miserably lonely?
-Failing and alone?
-A miserable, terminally lonely failure?
-Dissatisfied with getting what you always wanted?
-A collector of defunct happy meal toys?
-A collector of vintage advertising?
-Depressed about your dissatisfaction with getting what you'd always wanted?
-Miserable and depressed?
-A depressive, terminally alone failure?
-A completely OCD comic designer?
-All of the above?

If you answered YES to T
There's a little bit of Ware's Rusty Brown and Chalky White in all of us. Well, there's a little bit of both of them in me, anyway. And then there's a part of me unlike them who desperately wants to be like them, even though they are at times shallow and pathetic characters. Let me explain employing single-word transitions in the vein of Ware's work:

Most people dream about riches and fame. I've been there. I used to want to be a rock star when I was 14. Then my father told me that the number of
If you're only gonna own one Chris Ware, it should probably be this one. But, you really should own more than one Chris Ware. You should have ALL the ones listed on my goodreads list.. they're awesome .. they feed the soul... they lighten the mind .. they will get you laid.. they will get you into the pearly gates. Seriouly, get them, and show them to company when they come over.. they won't believe they've never heard of him.
The design work is beautiful, superior, every superlative you can imagine, but the how miserable we all are attitude of the content I can do without. Todd Solondz, David Foster Wallace, and Chris Ware all walk into a bar... the joke is on them. Mark Twain had more hope for humanity than this. I love myself. I love being alive. The R. Crumb worshipping, self loathing, misanthropic, stunted adolescent comics auteur crowd has wore itself thin with me.
I really want to like Chris Ware. And Sometimes I do. But sometimes I feel like the the way he subdivides panels into oblivion, twists perspective so that you have the literally twist the book, and adds so much detail that you couldn't possibly read it all is a little self-defeatist. I feel like a wimp for not reading every article on every newspaper collage spread in this book, and I skipped all of the pages that wanted me to tip the book or read teensy panels. And maybe that makes me a wimp. B ...more
Beautiful, intricate and meticulously crafted. But nihilist and so damn depressing. Consume in parts.
I guess I like it better when Ware sustains a narrative, like in Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth (one of my all-time favorite books) or the "Building Stories" series he did for the New York Times Magazine. So this collection of works doesn't quite have the same emotional resonance for me that some of his other work has.

But that doesn't mean there isn't a ton to like here. Ware is often funny, and some of the false advertisements are laugh-out loud hilarious, if you can work your way thr
I like the tragic and beer-bellied super hero story a lot. I appreciated Rusty Brown's selfish cruelty and loved, loved, loved Brittany White the teenage broken-hearted lesbian! Oh, and the Rocket Sam chronicles are the saddest robot tales you'll ever read. Poor robots! Learn your lesson, robots! Your creator is heartless!!! He will betray you and treat you like a slave tool every time!
very first I ever bought and really read from Chris Ware.. amazing amazing, and a great man.
Mike Horne
Either you like this or you hate it. Chris Ware's art I think is absolutely beautiful. The stories are utterly depressing. I really enjoyed both Jimmy Corrigan and Building Stories. This is a collection of stories his comic book (I think). But with all sorts of incredibly small print!!! My favorite quote--"Already herein, I believe lies one of the principles of the ACME method: viz., regardless of quality, integrity, or intellect, even the most rudimentary veneer of perfection can provide some c ...more
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chris ware's 'jimmy corrigan' is on my list of favourite books. i really like ware's drawing style and his use of bold outlines.

jimmy corrigan blew me away as being a thoroughly excellent post-modern novel quite apart from its being a graphic novel to boot. it deserved all the accolades it got.

so i was tremendously excited when i found that the local library had anticipated my request and already got 'the acme novelty library' in. hur
Cameron Mount
It makes no sense that this book should be so depressing. Each page is incredibly fresh and almost unfathomably intricate. This is the kind of book that seems to hold inspiring claims about the future of graphic novels and fiction in general. And yet...punchline after punchline is cynicism and emptiness, cynicism and emptiness. It's beautifully expressed, but it doesn't make sense without another side. Even two semi-uplifting comics amid the hundreds here would let me wrap my head around this. I ...more
Kevin Axe
Around the beginning of the year, I was on a graphic novels kick, set off by a customer selling my bookstore several volumes of fairly rare books by Chris Ware, including several volumes of his Acme Novelty Library, and a published version of his surprisingly chaotic and vulgar sketchbook (several of which I promptly bought as belated Christmas gifts), and by my discovery of Joe Sacco and Guy Delisle. I am a pretty big fan of Ware, and enjoyed these graphic novels for the most part (especially t ...more
Terrific but relentlessly sad. Chris Ware weaves a handful of portraits of different people together into one big collection, with interludes and dense ad copy for fake products. There's a lot to pour over but the pervading theme is loneliness. Everyone in Ware's world is trying to find some human connection and failing miserably. I find his work to be very effective and touching but story after story here has some random terrible tragedy, and the characters are just left to wallow in their sadn ...more
Brenton Nichol
This book is a collection of material taken from Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Library volumes, a Best Of if you will, packed with standout selections from his various ongoing comic strips as well as all the fine-print-in-the-margins hilarity you would expect from such a volume with Ware's name on it. Some may find the fake Acme inserts tedious after a certain point, but I think that's part of the whole joke and dutifully read every word on every publication of Ware's. This oversized hardcover serve ...more
Jerome K
This is just pretty to have. The hardcover version is huge. It will not fit into your regular bookshelf. LOL. But it gives a good idea of Chris Ware's gobsmacking art. There's no one story as on Jimmy Corrigan. It's little bits here and there and some loosely related panels. Love it. Love it. Should've gotten Quimby The Mouse too but these pockets are not really that deep.
Jul 16, 2007 matt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sad people
It's obvious to anyone who reads comics/graphic novels that Ware has a strikingly distinct and rich style/color scheme but his constant morose attitude and disdain towards his characters gets a bit daunting. Between Rusty Brown and Jimmy Corrigan, jeez...give me someone to root for! The entire set up of this entire book is astounding, just make sure to pack some prozac.
Neil Strauss
With the first volume of this seminal series, most about “Jimmy Corrigan, the smartest kid on earth,” Chris Ware made loneliness ache in more color and dimension than the saddest country song. Where Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman taught me that comics could be novels, Chris Ware taught me that they could be literature. Though the series has been anthologized into a book, the printing, graphics, and reproductions are far superior in the original comics.
I go back and forth between four and five for this book. A part of me wants to give it five stars, but another part of me just gets exhausted with how big this book is. I love Chris Ware and I always will. His illustrations really show how people suffer, real people at their best and worst. At their most naive and their most pig-headed. That's rare. But a hundred huge pages, some packed with over a thousand words each, just gets exhausting.
Frederic  Germay
A very interesting work of art, almost deliberately peculiar and humorously miserable. I honestly don't know how else to describe it. It was memorable, which is mostly a good thing. The actual book itself was quite unique, abnormally large with intricate designs. The images throughout are beautifully abstract and the text makes you smile and ruminate the various proposed declarations or suggestions. I enjoyed it.
Christopher  Ryan
Probably one of the most beautifully heartbreaking graphic novels every written and drawn. The comedic aspects stem from the ludicrous despair Chris Ware puts his characters through. The plots are always ingenious, the art always immaculate, the detail beyond what one could ever need from a graphic novel. It's something you return to over and over despite the depressing arcs and sad-sack characters.
Danny Fast
Fantastic. Amazing. Beautiful. Funny. Sad.
Like Ware's other books, the detail in this one is nothing short of incredible. A variety of bitterly ironic comics and mock advertisements explore rejection, misery, and the futility of life in general. I enjoyed it quite a bit, even if Ware's tiny writing makes my already-weak eyes feel even worse. Someday I'm gonna need Large Type comic books. Now get offa my lawn!
More ware brilliance. Some crazy logorrhea in 4pt font on some of his old timy adverts/text that after a bit I glazed over, but the "rusty and chalky white" series was worth the library checkout alone. Not the first Ware book I'd recommend (Jimmy Corrigan or lint gets that vote) but brilliant and I'm thankful I have met Mr. Ware, my current number 1 author.
Why are graphic novels the saddest? There are some laugh out loud jokes thrown in, but even those are based in deeply dark humor. TYou can find occasional tiny glimpses of movement & understanding, but overall it feels like wallowing. There was a time I would have liked that more; now it just feels too heavy. Still, a very smart collection, and visually lovely.
Mar 23, 2007 Jay rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like style and substance
This one-off collects a few of Chris Ware's most self-reflective characters: Big Tex, Rocket Sam, and Rusty Brown. I mean, absolutely beautiful drawings and heart-breaking development. The only thing this book has going against it is the dimension of the page. The thing is like two stories tall [ba dum bum]. But seriously, this book is a bitch to read in bed.
Edmund Davis-Quinn
I am really happy Chris Ware stopped with the absurdly overlarge book and micritext, his more recent Acmes are much, much easier to read.

A lot about hopelessness and remembrance here. From several different comics and characters.

Curious to read Jimmy Corrigan, but #20 is still my favorite so far.

Glad my life isn't this dark.
Nov 11, 2007 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: graphic designers
Everyone who enjoys graphic novels should be reading Chris Ware's books. I am always amazed (and sometimes lost) by the layout design of his stories.
This was my first experience with his work and got me hooked on melancholic humor. You should read this or something by him.
As you know, Chris Ware is a visual genius. I lack the attention span to just get lost in most of his "Acme Novelty Library" out-put, but I think that is more my failing than his; still, I love gazing at everything he does and marveling at his strange, brilliant brain.
Paula Varzea
Chris Ware has a very intriguing sense of humor. Luxury printed for brazilian standards, the graphics are amazing and the text is intense. Almost meant to be read with a magnifiyng glass, each page has tons of graphic information to be digested. Must read.
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CHRIS WARE is widely acknowledged as the most gifted and beloved cartoonist of his generation by both his mother and seven-year-old daughter. His Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth won the Guardian First Book Award and was listed as one of the 100 Best Books of the Decade by the London Times in 2009. An irregular contributor to This American Life and The New Yorker (where some of the pages ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Acme Novelty Library (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • The Acme Novelty Library #1
  • The Acme Novelty Library #2
  • The Acme Novelty Library #3
  • The Acme Novelty Library #4
  • The Acme Novelty Library #5
  • The Acme Novelty Library #6
  • The Acme Novelty Library #7
  • The Acme Novelty Library #8
  • The Acme Novelty Library #9
  • The Acme Novelty Library #10
Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth Building Stories The Acme Novelty Library #20 Quimby The Mouse The Acme Novelty Library #16

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